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Bell teams with Pratt & Whitney for Air Force’s HSVTOL vertical lift challenge

HSVTOL concept by Bell
Photo: Bell

Aircraft designer Bell and engine specialist Pratt & Whitney have joined forces for work on the US Air Force’s High-Speed Vertical Takeoff and Landing (HSVTOL) technology crowdsourcing program.

Bell is one of 11 companies that has received market research investments for work under the program, which is run by United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The company said it continues to work with the US government and its industry partners to reduce risk and develop capability requirements. HSVTOL is expected to provide next generation capability in vertical lift speed, range, and survivability.

This type of technology blends the maneuverability of a helicopter with the speed, range and survivability features of a fighter aircraft. Bell says its HSVTOL technology may serve a variety of complex missions in the future battlespace for runway independent agile mobility, SOF infil/exfil, personnel recovery, and strike/ISR.

“We’re excited to dig into HSVTOL propulsion technology research with Bell and showcase what this next generation capability could bring to USAF and other warfighters,” said Dr. Steven Burd, director and chief engineer of advanced military engine programs, Pratt & Whitney.

HSVTOL technology leverages existing Bell experience with the development of high-speed vertical lift aircraft, with the Bell 360 Invictus dashing over 200 knots, and the Bell V-280 Valor cruising to over 300 knots.

“HSVTOL propulsion technology is one of the key technical areas to develop for future capability, and we’re thrilled to leverage expertise from Pratt & Whitney to explore ways to mature technology for these concepts,” said Lee Anderson, director of innovation, Bell.

Other companies involved in developing vertical takeoff aircraft capable of achieving jet-like speeds include American Aerospace Engineering, Astro Aerospace Ltd., Continuum Dynamics, Jaunt, Jetoptera, Piasecki, Transcend Air, Valkyrie, VerdeGo Aero and Whisper.